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Ode to Sunday Brunch, or Saturday Brunch and Blueberries.

June 13, 2010

I am a fan of cornbread. Hot from the oven. Slathered with a bit of butter. To accompany my BBQ chicken, Texas chili, or Sunday brunch. I enjoy making cornbread. Even in a cast iron skillet like my mother does. I’ve previously added rosemary to my cornbread batter  and cooked it as a loaf. Then glazed with lemon syrup. Like a pound cake, but much denser. And more Texas. I’ve also been known to make cornbread muffins and then added last night’s chicken, chopped up, veggies and all. What doesn’t go with cornbread? I think everything does. Or should. Peaches, Green Chili, Pulled pork would be lovely. With cornbread as well.

Cornbread, fresh Blueberries, Blueberry butter, Candied corn, brown sugar bacon, brown sugar-bacon fat crispy

It seemed inevitable I would get to Blueberries. That I would find a way to bring cornbread and blueberries together. There I was, at yet another farmers markets, dreaming of new recipes, of hand-held cakes. Then it dawned on me, Bacon! No really, it dawned on me. Breakfast! with bacon. And blueberries and cornbread. I just love cornbread hot out of the oven. I imagined a late-breakfast plate: ripe seasonal berries, crispy brown sugar bacon, soft butter, hot cornbread flecked with roasted corn kernels, all mingling together in happy harmony.

For the cornbread I followed the recipe for cornbread (not the sweet cornbread) on the back of the Alber’s Corn meal box. I roasted a cob of corn in foil, that was drizzled with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt and chili powder. I cut the kernels off the roasted cob and added those to the cornbread batter.

For the candied corn, I simmered reserved corn kernels in equal parts of sugar and water, until the liquid became a thick syrup consistency. I removed the kernels and discarded the syrup. This syrup could be saved for many other uses. What comes to mind now is a cocktail. A corn cocktail, involving basil and gin. Just a thought…

For the Blueberry butter, I pureed about 3/4 of a pint of fresh blueberries in a blender and saved the rest for garnish. In a stand mixer, I added about 8 oz. of room temperature butter and began mixing. I then added almost 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, to make a frosting. When it was the right taste and consistency, I added the pureed blueberry. Next time I will strain the liquid and just use the thick puree. When piping, there was a bit of a splatter (from the blueberry juice, not mixing into the frosting). Although the extra juice actually added a nice soak to the muffin, I do recommend to strain the juice from the puree. Very well.

For the brown sugar/bacon, I cooked bacon in the oven at 350 degrees until beautiful and crisp. Then added a sprinkle of brown sugar on top and continued to cook until carmelized. After I removed the bacon from the sheet pan, the juices (bacon fat) and the brown sugar had melded in to one gorgeous layer on the sheet pan that was beginning to harden. When it was cool to touch I gently scraped it off the sheet pan and it was a nice crispy. Made for an impromptu tuile, derived from my bacon fetish and inspired from a Sunday brunch.

These are best eaten hot from the oven or at room temperature. Fried chicken and a Bloody Mary anyone?

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